Almost all communication channels with US ‘frozen’: Kremlin

Almost all communication channels with US ‘frozen’: Kremlin

Moscow (Reuters): The Kremlin said on Wednesday almost all communications channels between Russia and the United States have been frozen but the US State Department disputed the statement.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia did not expect the incoming US administration to quickly reject enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and that almost all communication with the United States had ceased, according to Russia's RIA news agency.

There are fears among allies that US President-elect Donald Trump could withdraw funding for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Moscow. Russia has said it would take countermeasures in response to any expansion of the 28-member military alliance.

"Almost every level of dialogue with the United States is frozen," RIA quoted Peskov as saying. "We don't communicate with one another, or (if we do) we do so minimally."

Peskov's reported comments came as tensions between Moscow and Washington are growing, a month before US President Barack Obama hands over power to Trump, who has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin.

State Department spokesman John Kirby quickly rejected Peskov's statement.

‎"It's difficult to know exactly what is meant by this comment, but diplomatic engagement with Russia continues across a wide range of issues," Kirby said in an emailed statement. "That we have significant differences with Moscow on some of these issues is well known, but there hasn't been a break in dialogue."

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on Tuesday regarding the situation in Syria, Kirby said.

Russia, Turkey and Iran agreed in recent talks find a solution to the Syrian crisis. While the United States had been excluded from those talks, communications with Moscow on ending the war continued, Kirby told his daily briefing later on Wednesday.